Thursday, 19 July 2007

Persian Lamb

So, the tagine needs to be conquered. I spent hours looking for recipes and not a lot excited me.
There seem to be a few staple recipes and that’s about it.

Not enough of a challenge for me. I looked further than my usual online resources, in the bookshop, and was still disappointed. I wanted something exciting, different and challenging.

I didn’t really get there, but this is what I created for friends on the weekend. It was very easy to prepare.

Everyone went back for more, so that’s always a good indication.

700g lamb shoulder, diced
big glug of olive oil
2 brown onions, diced
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
4 cardamom pods, crushed
1 tsp salt
375ml chicken stock
110g pitted prunes, chopped
1 tsp caster sugar
juice of 2 limes
¼ tsp saffron threads, dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water
400g butternut pumpkin, but into large chunks
1 handful mint, roughly chopped
roasted almonds or pistachios, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
Heat the oil in the tagine base (or heavy-based saucepan). Add the lamb in batches stir over medium to high heat until browned. Remove from the pan and put aside.
Add a little extra oil to the pan if need be, with the onion and fry for a couple of minutes to soften. Add the spices and salt and stir for 1 minute.

Add the stock, keeping in mind not to overfill the tagine.

Add the lamb, prunes, sugar, lime juice and saffron water, put the top on the tagine and place in preheated oven for 2 to 3 hours. (Or, if using a pot on the stove, bring up to a simmer, cover for 1 hour, stirring occasionally).

In the last hour, I added the pumpkin. I put the pumpkin in too early I think, it cooked down a little too much, so maybe half an hour would do.

When the lamb is tender, remove from heat and add the mint and toasted almonds and stir through.

I roasted a tin of chickpeas tossed in salt, pepper, lemon and paprika for 5 minutes and stirred them through some prepared couscous with extra lemon.


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